10 People You'll Meet...At Kendal Mountain Festival 2019 Article


Kendal Mountain Festival is on the horizon and another exciting line-up of films, events and festivities is on offer. The programme has expanded in scale and scope this year, meaning that there are even more interesting people to meet. Whom can you expect to rub shoulders with at the bar? Whom can you embarrass yourself in front of as you drunkenly ask them to sign your beermat/down jacket/face?

Extreme Basecamp scenes: now to be recreated at home with your best down jackets and beards.  © KMF
Extreme Basecamp scenes: now to be recreated at home with your best down jackets and beards.

We couldn't include everyone, but we've compiled a list of 10+ interesting, fun and quirky characters who will be speaking and socialising at KMF this weekend. If you meet them, maybe buy them a beer. Don't forget - UKC/Rockfax will be present in the Basecamp Tent once again, offering bargain books and great chat (maybe?). Some of us will be presenting and speaking in events, too, so feel free to heckle.

Dierdre Wolownick

AKA Alex Honnold's mum - but to know her for this alone doesn't do this remarkable woman justice. An opressive upbringing, an emotionally abusive marriage and an uneven share in parenting prevented Dierdre from reaching her own potential and feeling a sense of self, despite being an accomplished writer, musician, artist and teacher. Aged 58, Dierdre asked her son Alex - no mean climber - to show her what his climbing life was all about. Hooked and keen on exploring this new world for herself, Dierdre went on to become the oldest woman to ascend El Capitan in Yosemite at 66. Her memoir The Sharp End of Life: A Mother's Story tells her inspiring story of overcoming adversity and how she raised Alex Honnold (and his sister Stasia) to be the climber and person that he is today.

Dierdre Wolownick at KMF 2019.  © KMF
Dierdre Wolownick at KMF 2019.

Alex Megos

As the first person to onsight 9a and with multiple hard ascents to his name, Alex Megos should be familiar to most of you. His new film Rotpunkt presented by Patagonia documents the advent, the agony and the art of the redpoint through Alex's efforts to redefine the boundaries of the form. He's also a good egg to chat to and loves a decent cup of tea.

Alex Megos at KMF 2019.  © KMF
Alex Megos at KMF 2019.

Anoushé Husain

Paraclimber, award-winner and all-round inspiration Anoushé Husain will be speaking at the Berghaus Women in Adventure session about overcoming the many barriers she has faced due to missing an arm below her right elbow, chronic health conditions, cancer and belonging to an ethnic minority group. Anoushé doesn't let the issues she faces prevent her from wokring hard and achieving goals. She was featured in our first UKC Humans of Climbing series volume.

Anoushé Husain.

Dave MacLeod and Bob Shepton

This adventurous duo teamed up to sail to St Kilda in 2017 and made some first ascents on the remote Scottish island's seacliffs. Dave is known for his obsession for new-routeing and all-round climbing abilities, while Captain Bob - of 'Wild Bunch' film fame - is a hardy 84-year-old sailor and arctic explorer with bags of character. Join them to watch and hear about their adventure to St Kilda and Dave's explorations of untouched Scottish rock in the premiere of Undiscovered on Friday 15th November at 7pm.

Dave MacLeod at KMF 2019.  © KMF
Dave MacLeod at KMF 2019.

Bob Shepton on watch  © Dark Sky Media
Bob Shepton on watch
© Dark Sky Media

Jessica J. Lee

Jessica J. Lee is the founding editor of The Willowherb Review, a ground-breaking new literary journal dedicated to diversity in nature writing, featuring works by established writers of colour who focus on themes of place, environment and nature. Jessica will present a showcase of the journal's writing, alongside contributors Amanda Thomson and Jay G Ying.

Jessica J. Lee.  © KMF
Jessica J. Lee.

Emma Twyford

The woman of the moment, 'Miss 9a' Emma Twyford will be at the festival to speak about becoming the first British woman to climb 9a with her recent ascent of The Big Bang at Lower Pen Trwyn. Join Emma at the BMC TV Nightclub, and watch the film about her journey to 9a in the 'Climb' film session.

Emma Twyford at KMF 2019.  © David Petts
Emma Twyford at KMF 2019.
© David Petts

Jesse Dufton

Earlier this year, Jesse made the first blind lead of the Old Man of Hoy. Born with 20% central vision, Jesse was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa four years later: a rare genetic disease that breaks down the retina's cells. At age 20 Jesse could no longer read, by the time he was 30 his vision was reduced to just light perception with around 1 or 2 % field of view. This didn't stop him from continuing to climb both on rock and in competitions alongside his sight guide and fiancée Molly. Watch the special screening of the film Climbing Blind on Saturday 16th November, 4:30-6pm.

Jesse Dufton: Climbing Blind  © KMF
Jesse Dufton: Climbing Blind

Katie Ives

Editor-in-Chief of Alpinist magazine Katie Ives is on the judging panel for this year's Boardman-Tasker Award for Mountain Literature. With her keen eye for poetic prose and sturdy sentence structure, you can rest assured that this year's shortlist will be expertly judged by Katie. Katie will also be speaking in a free session on the future of mountain writing in the Basecamp Tent on Saturday, answering the question 'Are people still reading Mountain Stories?' On Sunday, she will be participating in the Mountain Equipment Alpinism Session.

Katie Ives.  © Katie Ives/
Katie Ives.
© Katie Ives/

Pete Whittaker

He may be one half of the WideBoyz duo, but Pete Whittaker has been going it alone of late: some significant repeats in Norway and a book release have kept him occupied. Join Pete as he reveals his top tips for jamming in this jam-packed technique session as he prepares to launch The Definitive Guide to Crack Climbing in January 2020.

Pete Whittaker at KMF 2019.  © KMF
Pete Whittaker at KMF 2019.

Mountaineering Greats

As part of the Mountaineering programme on Saturday 16th at 14.00, several gnarly stalwarts of mountaineering will be present for the Changabang film screening: Chris Bonington, and Doug Scott (first ascent), John Porter (South Ridge), Andy Cave, Mick Fowler, Andy Perkins and Julie-Ann Clyma (N Face), and Seb Moatti (N Face in the film). A short Q&A with the climbers will follow the screening.

Mountaineering films at KMF 2019.  © KMF
Mountaineering films at KMF 2019.

Kendal Mountain Festival  © KMF
Kendal Mountain Festival 2019

Kendal Mountain Festival (14th-17th November) is an award-winning event that has grown in size and diversity over the last 19 years. It is also the main social event for outdoor enthusiasts in the UK. Thousands of outdoor enthusiasts plus media industry specialists, athletes, top brands & equipment manufacturers, artists, photographers, adventurers, explorers and inspirational speakers gather every year to share adventures and celebrate the very best in outdoor and adventure sports culture.


Support UKC

As climbers we strive to make the kind of website we would love to visit, with the most up-to-date news, diverse and interesting articles, comprehensive gear reviews, breathtaking photographs and a vast and useful logbook system. As a result, an incredible community has formed around the site - we’ve provided the framework but it’s you who make the website what it is today. If you appreciate the content we offer then you can help us by becoming an official UKC Supporter. This can be a one-off single annual payment or a more substantial payment paid monthly or yearly which includes full access to Rockfax Digital and discounts on Rockfax print publications.

If you appreciate then please help us by becoming a UKC Supporter.

UKC Supporter

  • Support the website we all know and love
  • Access to a year's subscription to Rockfax Digital.
  • Plus 30% off Rockfax guidebooks
  • Plus Show your support UKC Supporter badge on your profile and forum posts
UKC/UKH/Rockfax logo

No comments yet

Loading Notifications...
Facebook Twitter Copy Email LinkedIn Pinterest